José Rodrigues Coura: a life for science and teaching
Celebrating his 90th birthday, the professor joined a chat06/06/2017
Responsible for training scientists for over five decades, José Rodrigues Coura was honored, on June 14, at the Fiocruz Campus in Manguinhos, for his 90th birthday.
Born on June 15, 1927, in Taperoá, Cariri Region in Paraíba State, José Rodrigues Coura was admitted in 1952 at the National Medical School of Brazil University (today, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Medical School), graduating as a doctor on December, 1957. As a professor at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF) Medical School, he created a modern Infectious and Parasitic Diseases Service at Antônio Pedro Hospital. For Doctor Coura, the greatest challenge faced while working as a doctor was to work, with dignity and competence, in a Country that does not take health and basic education seriously, where the political propaganda overcomes reality and corruption exceeds the borders of wealth. The reflection is based on his wide professional experience.
As researcher, he studied the main Brazilian diseases, among which, Chagas disease, schistosomiasis and other helminthiases. I advised numerous professors like myself. I published over 250 papers in national and international indexed journals and six book, among them The Dynamics of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, whose second edition, with 174 chapters, was written in collaboration with 302 researchers, 50 of which were my students, he stresses while saying this books first edition of 2005, was awarded with the 2006 Jabuti Award as the best medical work in that year.
He was a founding member of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine (1962), and president of the society from 1973 to 1975. He was also the editor of the Journal of the BSTM for 12 years and director of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute from 1999 to 2001. Besides all this, from 1961 and 2014 he published 261 papers in national and international journals, an average of 4.8 papers/year and hundreds of paper abstracts presented in conferences and scientific meetings.
Member of the Brazilian Science and Medicine National Academia, in 2002 he was granted with the degree of Commander of the Scientific Order of the Republics Presidency, promoted to the Grã-Cruz (Grand Cross) in 2008.
In 2013, he won the Conrado Wessel Award in the science category. For him, the award meant the crowning of a 57 year-long career as emeritus Professor at the Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ) and Emeritus researcher at Fiocruz. In 2015, after assessing all of his contributions in Tropical Medicine and his reflex in the community, he was granted with the Senior Researcher Award by the BSTM. Dr. Coura said he did not expect this award, but believes it was a result of his work for over half century.
Since the 1960s, he received numberless awards. Among them, Emeritus Professor, UFRJ (2006); Salta citizen, Salta Mayors Office, Argentina (2004); Scientific Merit Order, Republic Presidency (2002); Alfredo Jurzykowski Award, National Medical Academy (1996); Carlos Chagas Commander, Minas Gerais State (1993); Emilio Ribas Medal, Brazilian Society of Infectology (1991); Honoris Causa Professor of the following federal universities: Piauí (1997), Ceará (1991) and Paraíba (1993); CNPq Scientific Merit (1981), Gerhard Domagk Award, Journal of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine, 1969, 1970 and 1974.
Currently, professor Coura is dedicated to researches and undergraduate lectures in Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, as well as to Tropical Medicine at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute.